Monday, August 1, 2011

"Rent A Cops"

We used to call them “rent-a-cops” in college.  
Now, I’m not sure what they’re called now, but “annoying” comes to mind.  
College police are another breed.

It is important to follow the rules, but sometimes, the rules feel like part of the plot of George Orwell’s 1982, and big brother is not only watching but controlling everything.
I’m talking about parking tickets.

Back in February, Will decided to park his car in an undesignated, no sign in the area, parking spot. 
Although he had a generic permit, it seemed a good choice.
Several hours later, there was a ticket on his windshield.

Will went to contest the parking ticket, explained his rationale for parking there, and the parking ticket was revoked.  Woo hoo for the little guy, or at least that’s what he thought.

Two weeks after exams, he received a parking ticket notification at home. 
He ignored it because he “had taken care of it.”

Two weeks later, he retrieved his grades; they had all reverted to “F”s, and we were livid.

“What happened?”

“I don’t know.  I didn’t make Fs, I had an A, 3 Bs and 1 C.”

“I bet that parking ticket wasn’t revoked.”

Sure enough, the unpaid parking ticket got our attention by changing the grades to Fs.

Will said, “There’s nothing I can do, so I’ll just take the Fs.”

“Over my dead body”, I said.  Did you deserve the Fs?”


“Then fix it, or you don’t go back to school in the fall.”  

Since I have the checkbook, he knew I meant business, and he’d be working as the sub guy in the local pizza shop.
The next thing I knew, Scott and Will were paying the ticket by credit card.

Two more weeks passed before the grades were changed.    Whew, I thought.

The parking ticket thing kept nagging at me.  
If it could change grades, it might do other things.
I got the number for housing and asked if Will still had his dorm room. 

“I’m sorry, he isn’t registered on campus.”

Flames were shooting out my ears.

I acquired the Dean’s phone number and email address for Will, and told him to start calling.
Three voicemails, 50 thousand emails and 1 week later, Will had a dorm room and a meal plan.

“What would you have done if you arrived at school only to find you didn’t have a room?”  
There was a blank stare looking back at me.

Just when we thought things were back to normal, Scott texted me today saying “We haven’t gotten the bill for tuition yet.  Call ECU and make sure everything is ok.”

I suppose you can guess what happened next.

Will was no longer registered for classes!

In another world, this might be funny in a slapstick kind of way…

Full blown panic actually filled my son’s demeanor. 
He got online and it took almost 3 hours to get everything back to where it was.

I suppose things Will learned some kind of lesson from this, but I could be wrong.

Let’s see, the grades, the dorm room and meals, and the class schedule has been taken care of.  
Oh, and the parking ticket was paid.  I hope there are no more surprises.

Who knew that the parking and transportation division of the ECU Police had so much power? 
I wonder what they would do if I parked in the wrong spot, take away my graduate degree?

I hope you have a ticket-less day.  I'd love to hear about your tales of woe with the campus police,
email me at or look for Helen Aitken on Facebook.

Have a great day.

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